Another great outing for Harry Potter.
While this one lacks the introduction to magic that made the first
instalment so amazing, it still has a whole bunch of great stuff going
on, and the effects and acting were great.
Once again, I must reiterate that I've never read the books, and I
don't really have any plans to do so. Joanne did read this book months
before going in, and she enjoyed it just as much, though she said the
book was even darker than the movie!
This movie is definitely darker than The Philosopher's Stone. The
magic is spookier, people are nearly killed, and there are two scenes
with amazing magical creatures, which should bring nightmares! I was,
however, disappointed to learn the nature of the darkness. I really
thought Harry would have a Dark Side to him, and was unimpressed to hear
about the transfer of powers through the scar, from Valdemort to Harry.
I wished Harry really was the heir to Slytherin.
As this movie series continues, I really hope to see Harry and his
friends get in more trouble, or perhaps uncover threats that are not
real, to reduce their credibility. If he continues to be teacher's pet throughout all seven movies, I
think I will get bored. I liked Dumbledore's admonition that Harry and Valdemort
were more alike than simply being able to talk to snakes: they both also
have a certain disregard for the rules.
By contrast, Malefoy seems to be too evil. Does this kid have no good
in him at all? If not, why is he still in school? Snape may tend towards
the dark side, but he is not evil.
The actor who plays Ron is really great at showing his emotions,
especially fear! When he is standing talking to the spiders (in a
terrifically executed scene), you can see the fear living through him.
When his flying car careens out of control (I wish we had seen the
reaction from inside the train), he also goes out of control.
Hermione, on the other hand, is growing more and more beautiful! I
love her character, with the high pretentiousness, her grudging respect
for the others, and her sensitivity to having muggle parents. The fact
is that she knows so much, and there isn't a student in her class who
can cast a spell better than she can. She and Harry will apparently have
a romance in the future, as we can see their relationship growing, from
Harry stroking her hand after she is petrified, to her hugging him after
she recovers (but giving Ron only an awkward handshake). Only Ron's
sister, who seems to idolize Harry, could put a kink in that, which
might be fun to see, especially since Harry rescued the young Weasley at
There seems to be a lot going on below the surface of these movies,
than even the books present, from what I gather. Is Malfoy's father
responsible for Valdemort? He obviously wants the evil wizard to come
back to life, by dropping the diary into Ron's sister's pack. I just
hope that not every movie deals with Valdemort, with Harry winning. That
could get very tiresome, not to mention unlikely.
The diary was really cool, both in the text that reappears from the
grave, and in taking Harry back in time. However, if Jack Riddle really
is Valdemort, and was locked in the Chamber of Secrets fifty years ago,
how did he live to kill Harry's parents, and give Harry the scar, only
fourteen years ago?
The diary also gave great misdirection, pointing at Hagrid and his
spider. The scene in Hagrid's hut was really funny, with Harry and Ron
under the invisibility cloak, and Hagrid giving them covert advice. It
seems the cloak is not immune to the most powerful magic users, however,
since Dumbledore managed to penetrate it.
The special effects in this film for the most part, were more subtle
than in The Philosopher's Stone. Things like the moving staircases and
the talking photo albums, could almost be taken for granted, and really
inspire a feeling of recognition from the first film. The way the
characters ignore such things that they were in awe at in the last film
shows great character growth.
The spiders were great effects, with a terrific chase scene. I felt they were real spiders chasing Harry and Ron. I absolutely
loved the way the flying car rescued them, then ran off again! The baselisk was not quite as impressive, as its head was much more static,
and the characters (mainly Harry) didn't respond to it as if it was
really in the scene with them, which it obviously wasn't.
We also encounter the house elf Dobby. Though the character was cute,
and its magic was funny most of the time, and the scene where he is
inadvertently freed from Malfoy's household was hilarious, I couldn't
get past the fact that it was a computer generated character. It could
have been made so much better, so much more realistic, even in a CG
environment. I guess I've been spoiled by
The Fellowship of the Ring! His
self-inflicted punishment, since he knew he was doing bad things, was
Even though the film was much darker, it was also a lot more funny
than the first one. Scenes like being chased by the bludger ball in
Quiddich, the screaming telegram, Ron's clumsy owl, Dobby's door as it
kept opening while Harry kept closing it ("fix that door" his uncle
yells!), and so on, really gave me a chuckle. Moaning Myrtle was a
little annoying, but served her purpose. Ron's backward spell, which
made him vomit slugs, was hilarious and extremely disgusting at the same
I think I'll have to see this movie a second time in order to catch
all that went on. I liked seeing them do magic in the classroom, from
the screeching plants to the mischievous fairies that only Hermione
could stop. I only wish we got to see more magic outside the class, like
the cool duels between Snape and the new vain teacher of the Dark Arts.
Speaking of him, I suppose they need yet a new teacher for that subject,
since he used Ron's broken wand to give himself amnesia. That's two in
Despite some weak moments, and the loss of a "first-time" experience
with the magical aspects of the film, its nearly three hour time passed
in the blink of an eye. The actors were also great, as were the special
effects. I look forward to the next installment, as well as seeing this